Echotic talks to front man/virtuoso shredder/songwriter Luke Machin of Maschine.
Who is Maschine?
Maschine are a young, progressive rock/metal band from Brighton, England.
If you could describe the sound of Maschine in 3 words what would it be?
Powerful, diverse and emotional.
What/who are your influences?
Stylistically we are into Rock, Jazz, Metal, Classical, Funk and Progressive. Regarding artists, the band are influenced by Chick Corea, Dream Theater, Guthrie Govan, Pain of Salvation, John Coltrane, UK, IT BITES, Greg Howe, Michael Jackson, Periphery to name but a few.
Maschine used to be known as Concrete Lake, what inspired the change and what has changed since?
We recently got signed to Inside Out records and there is a band on their label called Pain of Salvation who I am influenced by and their second album is called ‘One hour by the concrete lake’. We were asked to change the name to remove the reference so we decided to change it to the German spelling of Machine which is Maschine. With IO being a German label and the name being a slight pun on my name ‘Machin’ and our bass players name ‘Mash’ we decided to put it forward to the label and they liked it. Things that have changed since are band members, we’ve had a fair few line-ups of this band and now we’re settled with the current line-up. Previously, we didn’t have much material so we went out and played covers of mainly bands/artists we liked at the time for example, Guthrie Govan (instrumental covers), Porcupine Tree and Tool. That really helped the band develop into what it is today, a full on live outfit as well as recording albums.
Maschine’s debut album “Rubidium” recently came out on InsideOut!, what was the recording and writing process like for the album?
It was tough, challenging and extremely time consuming but also extremely rewarding. I have previously recorded on albums but to produce a full album and edit everything from stripping toms on drums to taking out unwanted, high pitch frequencies in vocals it was a mammoth project, something I’ve learnt a lot from and gained a whole load of experience in doing. The actual process would start with myself preparing all the tracks ready for the drums to be recorded at the studio. I would prepare click tracks and go to the drummers house several times to make sure we were singing from the same hymn sheet and we were happy with the parts we would then record. Once all the drums were down I would take them home to edit which is a lengthy operation. I would do this with each member of the band then mix all the instruments, add effects and then lay the vocals down and finally send it off to master.
What kinds of things inspire you during your songwriting process?
I get inspired by anything, a film, an artist I’ve been listening to recently, a lyrical concept that I want to write about and can already hear it taking shape. There are people who can write constantly and people like me where it takes a little more time for the composition to reveal itself. People can’t really pin down what the direct influences are from our music because when I compose I like to try and replicate the feeling or emotion the artist is portraying in a particular section or piece of music rather than stealing direct chords, notes, riffs, beats or melody and then to fuse this with other ideas coming from elsewhere creates a new sound.
Do you like to write in seclusion or in a more collaborative fashion?
I am the sole composer of our music and there are two ways my compositions take shape. The first I would have a load of ideas scattered around and finally bring all the relevant, up to par ideas to the table and create a song that will eventually feel somewhat unified and cohesive, for example ‘The Fallen’ off of our début record. The other would have an idea that would flow and grow into a whole track and I would roughly know where it should go and I can hear it taking shape, for example ‘Rubidium’, track title.
What is your live set-up like?
Fairly simple for a progressive band, we are a 5 piece band, 2 guitars, bass, keys, drums and 3 vocals. We use backing tracks for the sound FX that are on the album which are all in mono to save us carting a house around on the road.
If you could work/collaborate with anybody (dead or alive) who would it be?
I’m lucky enough to say I’ve worked with most of my idols but to actually collaborate on a project with someone, currently I think it would be great to hook up with Steven Wilson as we are both producers, song writers but have different upbringing regarding musical taste. Other than that I think it would be interesting to collaborate with an electronic artist and to mix Progressive with modern day electronic material, who knows what may come out of that.
What are Maschine’s upcoming plans?
At the moment we are booking gigs for 2014 onwards and I’m currently composing the 2nd album so that will be keeping us busy for the next few months or so.
Maschine’s debut album ‘Rubidium’ is out now.